The present randomized, prospective study was designed to assess whether alternating induction cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine-altretamine (hexamethylmelamine), etoposide, and methotrexate (CAV-HEM) chemotherapy is better than standard chemotherapy (CAV) in improving response, survival, and remission time in 577 evaluable patients having extensive-disease small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). In addition, the study was designed to assess the impact of maintenance chemotherapy following a complete response (CR) on the time to progression and survival. The response rates (CR plus partial response [PR] ) for CAV-HEM and CAV were 64% and 61%, respectively, but 23% of the patients on CAV-HEM achieved a CR compared with 16% for CAV alone (P = .03). Among complete responders, the continuation of therapy significantly increased the remission time for patients on CAV, while maintenance therapy for patients on CAV-HEM had no significant impact on remission time. However, the increased remission had little effect on survival. Patients on CAV maintenance therapy survived marginally longer than those patients on no maintenance therapy, whereas patients who received CAV-HEM and no maintenance therapy survived longer than those on maintenance therapy. CAV-HEM was associated with significantly higher severity of complications (ie, mainly myelosuppression) than CAV (P = .01). Maintenance chemotherapy was associated with significantly more complications than no maintenance therapy. Patients on CAV-HEM lived significantly longer than those on CAV alone (45.9 weeks v 42.7 weeks; P = .002). Ten percent of patients treated on CAV-HEM survived at least 2 years, compared with 4% on CAV alone. In our study involving patients with extensive-disease SCLC, the alternating induction chemotherapy significantly increased the CR rates and had a small impact on long-term survival compared with the results achieved with standard induction chemotherapy. Moreover, when the alternating induction chemotherapy was used, long-term maintenance chemotherapy was not needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research